STATUS: Broad domestic partnership, anti-marriage constitutional amendment
TAKE ACTION: On March 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenges the constitutionality of Proposition 8. To increase the chances of a positive ruling for committed same-sex couples in California, expected in late June, we must continue to create the appropriate climate, demonstrating that a growing majority of Americans support the freedom to marry and oppose Proposition 8.
HISTORY: Decades of public education, advocacy and political leadership on marriage in California led to the California Supreme Court ruling in May 2008 on In Re: Marriage Cases to uphold the freedom to marry. In subsequent months, an estimated 18,000 gay couples were married in virtually every county of the state.
In November 2008, the California electorate narrowly passed Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment designed to supersede the court and prohibit same-sex couples from marrying in California.
On August 4, 2010, District Court Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled in Perry v. Schwarzenegger that Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process. The case proceeded to higher courts, which have ruled Proposition 8 time and again to be unconstitutional.
On February 7, 2012, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Perry v. Brown, and in a 2-1 vote, chose to uphold Judge Vaughn Walker's previous ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. Proponents of Proposition 8 petitioned for an en banc rehearing of the case, asking for the case to be retried by an 11-judge panel.
On June 5, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request for an en banc rehearing.
On December 7, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States granted review to the case, now Hollingsworth v. Perry. Arguments in the case will be heard on March 26, 2013, with a ruling expected by June 2013. Read all about Proposition 8 HERE.
POLLING DATA: A wide majority (61%) of California residents support the freedom to marry. (Field Poll, March 2013)
GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE:
- Equality California is the largest LGBT advocacy organization in California.
- Vote for Equality/the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center is an organization working to advance the freedom to marry through grassroots action, voter education, and leadership development.
- Let California Ring is a public education campaign to open hearts and minds about the freedom to marry in California.
- Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.
- Human Rights Campaign is the United States' largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality.
- Marriage Equality USA is a grassroots organization based in California working for federal and state marriage equality.
- Courage Campaign is an online organizing network that empowers grassroots and netroots activists to push for progressive change in California.
- California Faith for Equality is a group bringing together clergy and lay leaders throughout California who support equality for LGBT people.
NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES: According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 98,153 same-sex couples are living in California, representing 7.8 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.
FREEDOM TO MARRY COUPLE STORIES:
Blog Posts Related to California
Mothers' Day is a time to recognize the many varieties of families that come together to make our country so interesting. There is no one formulation for what makes a strong family, and there is no magic blueprint for what makes a good mother: The one thing that strong, dynamic families have in common is love.
Bill Horn and Scout Masterson are hoping that their daughter Simone gets an extra special birthday present shortly after she turns 3 this June: The chance to see her fathers marry, after over a decade of commitment.
All week long, Freedom to Marry will be live-blogging the oral arguments in the Supreme Court cases, providing you with background information about the cases, and ensuring that you have the most up-to-date information available.
Resources Related to California
Recent public opinion data show that Latinos – especially Latino Catholics – widely favor the freedom to marry, both nationwide and in key states.
A Public Policy Polling survey found a majority of California voters in support of the freedom to marry.
An article adapted from Harvard Professor Nancy F. Cott’s expert report submitted in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.